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So many clubs, so little time...

Posted by Nick on 21 October 2008

My shins are black and blue, my knees have soft mushy spots which hurt to touch, I can feel muscles in my back that I didn't know existed, my forearms feel like rubber, and I have a red scratch under my eye from getting punched in the face by a French girl.  No, I didn't have a rough night out in East London... I spent the weekend sailing with the London Business School sailing club in the Sunsail Regatta in Portsmouth. 

It has been a long time since I've been in a sailboat where I was doing something more than just relaxing, sipping wine, and taking in the sun.  This was racing and I had forgotten how physically taxing (and exhilarating) it can be.  With all of my bumps and bruises though, I got off easy; my classmate MK, who was on the other boat, got in a fight with a sailboat and the sailboat won.  Basically, the main sheet caught his neck as they were jibbing and it smashed his face into the deck.  He's a trooper though, he was in class the next day, bandages and all.

Well, as fun as I had during sailing, Krish already told me he had written a blog post about the whole experiences, so I'm going to use this as an opportunity to segway to the topic of clubs in general.

The shear number of active clubs at this school is crazy... its almost impossible to keep track of them all.  The trap which many first-years fall into is to join too many.  There are many clubs that I'm interested in, but I realized within the first few weeks that I was going to have to prioritize and only participate in those I really wanted to be involved in.  Trying to fill professional, social, and sports needs, I have joined the following clubs:

  • Venture Capital Club - one of my main professional goals is to work in Venture Capital, preferably in Renewable/Green Tech or Nanotechnology.  Though this is a lofty goal (it can be very difficult to land a VC gig right out of school) but the VC club greatly increases your chances of breaking into the industry.  There are numerous speakers, entrepreneur pitches, and competitions.  I'm particularly looking forward to the VCIC competition in the Spring Term where we form fictitious VC funds and evaluate real entrepreneurs' business plans.
  • Energy Club - As I have a strong interest in renewable energy, and I may not be able to land a coveted VC job, I've started looking into working for a big energy firm such as BP in their alternative energy group.  I've been learning quite a lot about the industry through the clubs events, and I look forward to more.
  • Entrepreneurship Club - I'm still holding onto that dream of starting my own company right out of school (yet another pathway into VC), but I'm having trouble coming up with a winning idea.  The entrepreneurship club's  speakers and competitions help bring ideas to the surface and offer inspiration.
  • Squash Club - I used to enjoy playing racquetball in college, and squash is the next closest thing.  Amazingly enough, the London Business School squash club has full access to the Lord's Squash Courts!  The opportunity to play at such an exclusive club is invaluable, not only for the experience, but also for the people you may find yourself playing squash against!
  • Student Ambassador - ok, so its not really a club, but it will be taking up a considerable amount of my time.  A former student ambassador, Dana McNabb, was instrumental in my decision to apply to London Business School.  I decided a while ago that I wanted to help prospective students learn more about the school, just as she helped me.  I'll be attending information sessions, giving campus tours, and generally making myself available to answer questions about the school.  You can see a listing of all Student Ambassadors here.
  • Sailing Club - as I mentioned above, I had a great time sailing and want to do as much of it as possible during my time at London Business School.  My boat, skippered by the incomparable Miranda, came in 3rd place last weekend out of about 20 boats!!  Each year the sailing club takes a spring break trip somewhere to go sailing... last year it was Thailand... its up to us this year to figure out where we want to go.  I'm thinking Vietnam sounds good.  Today I start a seven week Day Skipper course taught at the school, covering maritime basics such as navigation, etc..  Its the first step towards getting my Skipper License which will allow me to rent boats and take them out.

Well, there are a few other clubs I 'dabble' in (Poker, Rock n' Roll, and Wine & Cheese come to mind), but these are the main ones I'm making a strong effort to be active in.  I'm at least making sure I go to all of the meetings and events, but once you start factoring in class trips, friends' birthday drinks, company networking events, etc. it become hard to keep all of the balls in the air. 

By far one of the best aspects of London Business School is the extremely high level of involvement that the student body has in clubs and activities.  There is something for everyone offered at the school, and if there is a club you want to join which doesn't exist, the school makes it quite easy to start a new club!

Oh, and it should be noted that I didn't do anything to deserve getting punched in the face by said French girl... it was entirely by accident... I was manning the Genoa sheet, pulling it in after we tacked.  She slipped the ratchet handle onto the winch before I could get the sheet through the locking clamp.  I then leaned in to try and get the sheet over the handle and onto the winch while she was turning the winch handle, and as her fist came around, she caught me square in the eye.   Ouch!

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